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Danny Muñoz, a man with a love for Echo Park and L.A. history, dies

Echo Park historian Danny Munoz in his Angeleno Heights home

Danny Muñoz in his archive

ANGELENO HEIGHTS — Most persons interested in local history are satisfied with collecting some old photos and taking a walking tour. But not Danny Muñoz, the Echo Park native with a deep love of his neighborhood and its history. Muñoz co-founded the Echo Park Historical Society, spent 30 years restoring a 19th Century Victorian he shared with his partner and then turned the attic of the Angeleno Heights home into a 1,000-square-foot archive of historic photos, documents and other memorabilia he shared with professional researchers and curious neighbors. Last week, Munoz died at age 68 from an apparently undiagnosed case of liver cancer, reports the West Hollywood news website Wehoville.

While Muñoz was passionate about local  history, in West Hollywood he was known as a long-time waiter and employee at Ed’s Coffee Shop, where he worked for about three decades before retiring last year.

In Angeleno Heights, Muñoz had been an active member of board that oversees the Angeleno Heights historic district, where he and partner, David Hiovich, had called home for more than 30 years. In addition, Muñoz had also been a long time board member of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park.

Over the decades,  as the couple restored and repaired their 1895 home, Muñoz filled the residence with historic photos, newspaper clippings, books and other items. Eventually, the collection grew so large that the couple converted their attic into an archive, where racks of metal shelves offered a peek into the city’s past. For many years, Munoz spent Sundays – his only day off from work – organizing his archive and jotting down the title and information about each item on index cards.

Muñoz, in a 2010 interview with The Eastsider, said he had never bothered to count how many items he had in his collection, which continued to grow after he completed his attic archive.  He said at the time, “I can already see that I’m going to run out of space eventually.”

Echo Park historian Danny Munoz

Danny Munoz (left) and partner David Hiovich in 2012  | Jesse Saucedo

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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13 comments

  1. My heart breaks for Echo Park and in turn for all of Los Angeles. Danny was such a strong positive fixture and go-to for the community in so many ways for so so many years. Truly one-of-a-kind!

  2. I’m so heartbroken, RIP Danny ❣️ He loved Los Angeles deeply and was a devoted preservationist of our beautiful city. I was fortunate to spend many hours in his archives and I’ll forever cherish those times. His generous spirit will be forever missed. My condolences to David…

  3. What a loss. Yes, Danny was passionate about Echo Park. He was wonderful. And so young to die.

    Oh, I have complained so often about how inadequate the progress has been for many, many decades now to fight cancer and find a cure. We are still mainly doing radiation and chemo, just like they were not all that long after Danny was born, have only tweaked it some for some better results, but not nearly good enough results. I have noticed in the obits for may years that it seems most people in those died of cancer. My cousin is on his death bed this very moment from melanoma cancer. And Donald Trump’s proposed budget is cutting cancer research — still, with the ungodly amount we have spent on it for so many decades, I don’t see that we have gotten what we paid for.

  4. Antonio Castillo

    He was a pleasure to speak with every time we ran into each other at an archive or historic preservation event. A very passionate and loving individual. Danny will be missed.

  5. So sorry to hear this news.

  6. Masa of Echo Park

    Our deepest condolences to Danny’s family and to David. We will miss Danny, his warm heart and winning smile and of course his love for all things Echo Park. What a tremendous loss. We are heartbroken.

  7. This is such a loss. What a special human being he was. He deeply loved Echo Park and he will be sorely missed.

  8. I am deeply saddened to learn about Danny’s passing. I have visited his beautifully restored Victorian house, always had thoughtful exchanges about his passion for historic preservation, and enjoyed being with such a kind-hearted, genuinely loving and community-oriented individual. He was also a proud fellow graduate of Belmont High School. Deepest condolences to David and Danny’s family. Danny made a positive contribution to the world, and his memory will live in the hearts of those he touched forever.

  9. Danny was one of the kindest, warm-hearted, and generous individuals I have ever known. His contributions to Ech Park & Los Angeles in general will be felt for generations. I am so saddened by his passing. He had a unique, enlightened spirit that shined through his bright, smiling eyes. Every time I saw or spoke to Danny it lifted my spirits. Thank you Danny, for providing an example to all of us on how one can live life fully, generously, and with joy. You are loved by so many. RIP

  10. Amen to all of the above fond memories of Danny. He was a lovely person and a keeper of the heart of Echo Park for many years.

  11. Darn good man.

  12. Nice story about a sweet soul. Thanks for sharing.

  13. What terrible news. I met Danny through his love of Echo Park, especially Angelino Heights. I also knew him well as a valuable founding member of the Echo Park Security Association. Danny hosted many EPSA meetings in his beautiful house over the years. Such a nice, peaceful, calm and wonderful man. I can’t believe Danny’s gone. Poor David, I am very sorry for your loss.

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